Debates rage over the health benefits and dangers of vaping, but one thing appears to be settled: vaping doesn’t make your teeth yellow — at least not in the short term.
According to new research, vapor from e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products (HNB) cause “minimal” staining compared to the well-known effects of smoking cigarettes. The findings are interesting, not least because apparently no one has thought to investigate the issue until now.
The study was done by scientists from British American Tobacco (BAT), and published in the American Journal of Dentistry. The researchers compared vapor from an e-cigarette, BAT’s glo HNB device, and a combustible cigarette.
“The data generated from this study clearly shows that the [e-cigarette and HNB products] assessed caused minimal discoloration–very promising for consumers of our [next generation products],” said Annette Dalrymple, a senior scientist at BAT R&D. “However, further studies are required to understand the long-term effect on teeth staining and oral health when smokers switch to using NGPs.”
The testing was done on enamel blocks cut from the teeth of cattle. The blocks were “incubated” with saliva for 14 days to form a layer of protective protein film called pellicle that normally builds up on teeth. The “teeth” were then exposed to vapor (or smoke) equivalent to a pack a day of cigarettes for five days.
The enamel color was assessed before, during and after the testing. Color readings were done by trained scientists in an independent laboratory, using a spectrophotometer. The blocks exposed to cigarette smoke were noticeably stained after as little as one day, and the stain increased with daily exposure.
But the enamel exposed to vapor from an e-cigarette or HNB product showed little or no staining, comparable to control enamel that had not been exposed to any vapor or smoke.
“Many studies have postulated that it is the tar in cigarette smoke that stains teeth,” said Dalrymple. “We now have a method where we can rapidly assess in the laboratory the level of enamel discoloration by cigarette smoke and vapour from our [e-cigarettes and HNB products].”